Ottawa reports its 1st case of monkeypox

Ottawa's first lab-confirmed case of monkeypox has been detected in a resident, according to local health officials.

Resident has recovered and risk to Ottawans low, says Ottawa Public Health

A negative stain electron micrograph shows a mulberry-type monkeypox virus particle. Ottawa reported its first case in the city on Friday. (CDC)

Ottawa's first lab-confirmed case of monkeypox has been detected in a local resident, according to health officials. 

The person has recovered from the infectious disease, the city said in a news release Friday afternoon.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has followed up with close contacts of the person, and says risk to the public remains low.

Symptoms include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, headache, exhaustion and a rash — or pox lesions — that often appears on the face and extremities a few days after symptoms begin. It can also spread to other parts of the body.

The rare disease comes from the same family of viruses that cause smallpox, which the World Health Organization declared eradicated in 1980.

It's not highly contagious, generally transmitted through prolonged close contact.

The lesions it creates typically go through stages: from flat to slightly raised, then filled with clear, later yellowish fluid. It can then crust, dry up and fall off, according to the news release.

Transmission occurs through contact to exposed skin, the respiratory tract or the mucous membranes, like the eyes, mouth or nose. While most people recover from the illness on their own, OPH is encouraging residents to report symptoms to health-care providers. It has also provided relevant information to physicians.

Monkeypox can spread through body fluids from lesions, dried up scabs, contaminated clothing and bedding, as well as through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact.

The infectious disease is caused by a virus found in some animal species of central and western Africa, having occasionally infected humans there — although cases have developed in countries around the world recently. 

As of Thursday, Toronto had nine confirmed cases of monkeypox, with 23 other cases under investigation. 

Across Canada, more than 100 cases have been confirmed, with the majority — 98 cases — in Quebec.

In Ottawa and in accordance with guidance from the Ministry of Health, OPH has administered smallpox vaccine IMVAMUNE to high-risk contacts of a confirmed case.

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